Orlando Magic Blog

Group Blog talking about the NBA 2009 Eastern Conference Champions. Due to the amazing success of the 2009 playoff run comments are now frequently deleted to kill offensive comments, incoherence, or asininity. Comments can no longer be anonymous and require either a Blogger or OpenID account.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Bucks/Magic preview

Two struggling teams go at it WED night in ORL with MIL (18-27, 8-19 road, 11th East) taking on the Magic (23-22, 14-9 home, 7th East). MIL has lost 5 road games in a row and 12 of 14 overall, and their top scorer, G Michael Redd, is still out with a knee injury. The Magic have lost 3 home games in a row and 8 of 9 games overall. MIL is coming off a 110-80 thrashing from MIA on TUE night.

With Redd out, MIL is led in scoring by newly acquired G Earl Boykins, who has averaged 18.2 ppg in 10 games with the Bucks; G Mo Williams 17.6 ppg, 6.2 asts; F Ruben Patterson 13.9 ppg; F Charlie Villanueva 12.4 ppg; C Andrew Bogut 12.2 ppg, 8.6 rebs; and G Charlie Bell 12.2 ppg. MIL averages 100.1 ppg while allowing 103.4 ppg. The Magic average 93.2 ppg while allowing 92.8.

Magic coach Brian Hill has hinted at lineup changes the last few days since the Magic lost 2 games in a row to ATL. With MIL slumping even worse than the Magic, and their top scorer being out, this game offers a good chance for the Magic to get back on the winning track. Magic are 8 pt favorites (www.pinnaclesports.com).

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Magic slide continues with another loss to ATL

The Magic (23-22, 9-13 road) continue to struggle mightily, as ATL (16-27, 8-12 home) beat them for the second time in 4 days, this time 93-83. It was the Magic's 8th loss in 9 games.

ATL was led again by Magic killer Joe Johnson with 34 pts on 12 of 24 shooting; Josh Smith 19 pts, 12 rebs; former Magic G Ty Lue with 13 pts, 7 asts; and Marvin Williams 12 pts. The Magic were led by GHill with 21 pt, 6 rebs; DHoward 15 pts, 7 rebs; and JNelson 16 pts, 5 asts. DMilicic led the bench with 9 pts, 8 rebs. J.J. Redick scored 2 pts in 17 minutes.

ATL (33 of 68, 48.5%) outscored the Magic (28 of 71, 39.4%) from the floor 73-57. The Magic (26 of 32) actually shot decent from the FT line for a change compared to ATL (20 of 27). ATL shot 7 of 14 from the 3 pt line, while the Magic were a woeful 1 of 9. ATL won the battle of the boards again 39-30. The Magic had 14 TOs to 19 for ATL, but the Hawks had nearly twice as many assists as the Magic, 25 to 13. The Magic bench outscored the ATL bench 20-13.

Coach Brian Hill after the game: "I can't put my finger on it. I don't have the answer. I don't know. I'm sorry... it's frustrating. It's disappointing."

Monday, January 29, 2007

Magic/Hawks preview

The Magic (23-21, 9-12 road, 7th East) will try to pay ATL (15-27, 7-12 home, 12th East) back after one of the Magic's most disheartening losses of the year FRI night to the Hawks. ATL is comng off a 104-89 home setback to PHI SAT night. Joe Johnson, who scored 39 pts against the Magic, scored just 16 pts against the 76ers. Josh Smith added 21 pts.

The Magic are averaging 93.5 ppg, while allowing 92.8 ppg. In the last 8 games, the Magic are allowing 99.8 ppg. ATL averages 91.5 ppg, while allowing 96.8 ppg. The Magic have lost 7 of 8 games overall, 8 of their last 10 games on the road, and 4 games in a row at ATL. The Magic are 1-2 against ATL this season, including a 95-82 loss back in NOV at ATL. Despite the Magic's recent struggles, they are 4 pt favorites over ATL (www.pinnaclesports.com)).

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Another Magic second-half collapse in loss to ATL

The Magic (23-21, 14-9 home) had a comfortable 14 pt lead at the half against ATL (15-26, 8-15 road), but once again failed to put a team away in the second half as they were outscored 52-35 and lost 93-90. Joe Johnson torched the Magic with 26 second-half pts, and DHoward made only 2 of 8 FTs in the 4th quarter for the Magic.

Johnson led ATL with 39 pts on 14 of 23 FG shooting, with 6 asts; Josh Smith 24 pts, 11 rebs; and Josh Childress off the bench with 12 pts, 5 rebs. DHoward led the Magic with 19 pts, but just 4 rebs; TBattie and JNelson with 14 pts each; HTurkoglu 12 pts, and GHill 10 pts. DMilicic led the reserves with 8 pts.

ATL (37 of 67, 55.2%) outscored the Magic (35 of 62, 56.5%) from the floor 78-75. The Magic shot 5 of 12 on 3 pters, while ATL shot 4 of 10. Poor FT shooting hurt the Magic, as they shot just 15 of 28 from the FT line. ATL shot 15 of 18. ATL outrebounded the Magic 34-26. ATL had the better AST/TO ratio of 21/16, while the Magic were 18/17. The Magic bench edged the ATL bench 21-19.

Coach Brian Hill after the game: "I consider this a very bad loss. I'm very disappointed in our first and third-quarter defense and that's all I have to say."

Friday, January 26, 2007

Hawks/Magic preview

The Magic (23-20, 14-8 home, 6th East) will try to continue their home-court dominance over ATL (14-26, 7-15 road, 12th East) FRI night. ATL is coming off an 82-76 win at BOS on WED as Joe Johnson and Josh Smith each scored 21 pts.

ATL is led by G Johnson, averaging 24.7 ppg on 48% shooting; former Magic G Tyronn Lue 13.6 ppg; G/F Josh Childress 13.4 ppg; G/F Smith 13.1 ppg; former Magic F/C ZaZa Pachulia 12 ppg, 6.7 rebs; and F Marvin Williams 12 ppg. ATL is averaging 91.5 ppg, second-worst in the NBA, and allowing 96.8 ppg. The Magic average 93.5 ppg, while allowing 92.8 ppg, 4th best in the NBA. Magic are 21-9 when holding the opposition to less than 100 pts.

The Magic have beaten ATL 5 straight times in ORL, and 13 of the last 14 times at home. The two teams played twice in NOV, with each team winning at home. ATL won 95-82 in ATL, and the Magic won 98-79 in ORL. The Magic are 9 pt favorites (www.pinnaclesports.com).

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Sentinel Magic

Will Magic pull trade trigger?
For the past five seasons, before the NBA trading deadline kicked in, the Magic have made deals great and small.
In review:
Trade Bo Outlaw for Jud Buechler (2001-02).
Mike Miller for Drew Gooden-Gordon Giricek (2002-03).
Giricek for DeShawn Stevenson (2003-04).
Cuttino Mobley for Doug Christie (2004-05).
Kelvin Cato for Carlos Arroyo-Darko Milicic AND Steve Francis for Trevor Ariza-Penny Hardaway's contract (2005-06).
Will the Magic make another deal?
Doesn't sound like there will be anything major, if you read tea leaves left by GM Otis Smith.
But here are the possibilities:
Grant Hill. Hill has a whopping expiring contract that teams covet, and the Magic likely would let it come off their books unless somebody drops a Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett or Pau Gasol in their laps. Unlikely. Smith has gone on record saying Hill won't be dealt. But that was weeks ago.
Carlos Arroyo. The fiery guard has lost his backup job to Travis Diener and isn't happy. He says he doesn't want to go to his sixth team in six NBA seasons, but the Magic don't want any unrest in the locker room. Arroyo is a class act, but the Magic also have three points guards, counting Diener and starter Jameer Nelson. There likely will be a market for Arroyo, and the Magic need a backup big.
Diener. Travis finally has received his chance but isn't wowing anyone yet. He can run a team, and can shoot the 3, but needs to be in the right situation with the right team. I never thought of this until now -- and maybe it's a conspiracy theory -- but are the Magic showcasing him? Ah, I've probably watched too many Oliver Stone movies.
Darko Milicic. The Magic will only listen to offers because Darko will be a restricted free agent this summer. They can match any deal, but it would take only one team that loves him to blow the Magic budget. It's a predicament. The Magic see Darko's promise and would hate to give up on a 7-1 lefty who can block shots and be handy around the basket. He is essentially in his rookie season after riding the pine in Detroit, but the Magic also see an inconsistent player who, on some nights, looks as if he might never become a star.
Hedo Turkoglu: Hmmm, the Magic love his all-around game, if not his streaky nature. You might get a better player in return for Turk, but not a better character guy.
Keyon Dooling and Keith Bogans. The Magic have a plethora of shooting guards and wing players, needed with Grant Hill in and out of the lineup. One could go.
Pat Garrity. Garrity doesn't get much play at all anymore to show off his shooting stroke. Hard to determine his worth these days but could be a throw-in to a deal.
Tony Battie. Battie was signed to a four-year deal last season, and there's no reason to trade him when you are looking for a big.
Untouchable: Dwight Howard, Jameer Nelson, Trevor Ariza and J.J. Redick. Redick? The Magic aren't about to deal their lottery pick after the Fran Vazquez draft fiasco in 2005.

Unhappy Arroyo: I don't want to go anywhere else
Magic point guard Carlos Arroyo is not a happy camper, but he says he has no plans to ask for a trade. For the time being, he has lost his job to Travis Diener as the backup point guard to Jameer Nelson.
"I'm not thinking like that," Arroyo told me after the Magic lost to the Dallas Mavericks Tuesday night.
"I want to stay here. My feelings are the same as when I got here. I want to help this team win, and I love the support from the Puerto Rican community."
Arroyo discounted a rumor that he had gone on a local radio or TV station and asked the Magic to trade him. Asked if he has suggested to the franchise that the Magic trade him, Arroyo said, "I've never been like that."
Make no mistake: Arroyo is not happy -- a total reversal of fortune since he was traded to the Magic by the Detroit Pistons last season. He played well, became a fan favorite with his Hispanic ties and helped the Magic finish the season with a 16-6 kick.
But a shooting slump and some indecisive play led Coach Brian Hill to bench him as Nelson's backup, and he has not played in three of the past four games.
"I feel like I'm being punished for a bad shooting streak," Arroyo said. "I've never been punished for that. I feel like I've done everything they've asked me to do."
Arroyo, who has played with five teams in his six NBA seasons, has met with Hill several times. "It's his decision," Arroyo said.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Mavericks start fast to cruise past Magic

After falling behind 34-18 after one quarter, the Magic (23-20, 14-8 home) had basically no chance against the powerful Mavericks (35-8, 16-5 road) and lost 111-95. It was the 8th win in a row for DAL, and 21st win of their last 22nd games. The Magic lost their 6th game of their last 7.

DAL was led by Dirk Nowitzki with 33 pts, 10 rebs, and 8 asts; Josh Howard 25 pts; Jason Terry 14 pts; and Devin Harris 13 pts. JNelson led the Magic with 23 pts, 5 asts; HTurkoglu 17 pts; and GHill and DHoward each with 15 pts. KDooling led the reserves with just 9 pts in 31 minutes.

DAL (43 of 77, 55.8%) dominated the Magic (27 of 61, 44.3%) from the floor, outscoring them 94-61. DAL connected on 8 of 21 3 pters, while the Magic were 7 of 13. The Magic (34 of 47) had the advantage at the FT line over DAL (17 of 20). DAL outrebounded the Magic 35-31. DAL had the superior AST/TO ratio of 26/7, while the Magic were 15/12. The Magic bench was outscored by the DAL bench 26-18.

DAL showed the Magic why they have the best record in the NBA, as DAL dominated the game and most of the statistical categories; DAL has been doing that to many teams, so the Magic aren't alone. The schedule eases up a bit for the Magic with 2 games against ATL and a game against MIL in the next week.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Mavericks/Magic preview

The Magic (23-19, 14-7 home, 5th East) will do battle against the team with the NBA's best record, DAL (34-8, 15-5 road, 1st West). The Mavericks are on an incredible roll... 7 wins in a row, 20 wins in their last 21 games, and 9 wins in their last 10 road games. They are coming off a 99-93 win at MIA on SUN, with Josh Howard scoring 25 pts, Jerry Stackhouse 23 pts, and Dirk Nowitzki 22 pts.

DAL is led by F Nowitzki, averaging 24.9 ppg on 50% shooting and 9.5 rebs; G/F Josh Howard 19.8 ppg, 7.2 rebs; G Jason Terry 15.8 ppg, 5.3 asts; G/F Jerry Stackhouse 10.8 ppg; and G Devin Harris 10.5 ppg. DAL averages 99.7 ppg while allowing 92.6 ppg; the Magic average 93.5 ppg while allowing 92.4 ppg.

The Magic have a 14-3 home record against DAL, and have beaten them the last 2 times in ORL, including a 108-99 win last March. DHoward will be playing in his 207th consecutive game tonight for the Magic, tying Darrell Armstrong's team record. DAL is favored by 5 1/2 pts (www.pinnaclesports.com).

Magic snap losing streak with win at CLE

The Magic (23-19, 9-12 road) took advantage of a tired CLE (24-17, 15-4 home) playing its first home game after a long 7 game road trip, and did not collapse in the second half as they did the previous 2 games and won 90-79. The Magic broke a 5 game losing streak overall and a 6 game losing streak at CLE.

The Magic were led by the return of GHill to the lineup with 22 pts on 8 of 12 shooting; DHoward bounced back from the worst game of his career with 18 pts, 13 rebs; JNelson added 11 pts, 6 asts. Three members of the Magic bench, DMilicic, KBogans, and KDooling, each scored 9 pts; TDiener had 5 asts in just 14 minutes. LeBron James had a subpar game for CLE, scoring just 18 pts and missing 7 FTs in 13 attempts; Larry Hughes and Damon Jones each with 16 pts; and Drew Gooden with 12 pts, 11 rebs.

The Magic (36 of 66, 54.5%) outscored CLE (29 of 74, 39.2%) from the floor 77-64. The Magic shot an efficient 5 of 8 from 3 pt range, while CLE shot 6 of 17. CLE (15 of 27) had a slight advantage at the FT line over the Magic (13 of 21). The Magic had a solid advantage rebounding 43-31. CLE committed just 10 TOs, while the Magic had 17. CLE also had the better AST/TO ratio of 20/10; the Magic 20/17. The Magic bench outscored the CLE bench 29-24.

BHill broke his first clipboard in quite a while during the second quarter, as he was unhappy with the defensive effort by the Magic. He got his point across, as the Magic went from an 8 pt lead to a 16 pt lead at the half. Magic will find out how they fare against the best team in the league as they host DAL on TUE.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Magic/Cavs preview

The Magic (22-19, 8-12 road, 6th East) try to break their 5 game losing streak MON night against CLE (24-16, 15-3 home, 2nd East). CLE is coming off a 106-104 OT win at GS SAT. The Cavs trailed by 18 pts at the half of that game. LeBron James led with 32 pts. CLE finished their 7 game road trip at 3-4.

CLE is led by James, averaging 27.1 ppg and 6.8 rebs; Larry Hughes 14.6 ppg; C Zydrunas Ilgauskas 12.1 ppg, 8.2 rebs; former Magic F Drew Gooden 11.6 ppg, 8.6 rebs. CLE averages 95.2 ppg, while allowing 93.5 ppg. The Magic average 93.6 ppg, while allowing 92.7 ppg.

The Magic have lost 8 of their last 9 road games, and 6 games in a row at CLE. The Cavs may be a bit sluggish with this being their first home game after a long road trip. GHill is expected to play for the Magic; will J.J. Redick see meaningful playing time after an impressive game against NJ? CLE is a 5 pt favorite (www.pinnaclesports.com).

Carnival of the NBA #40 — The Bill Laimbeer Edition | Detroit Bad Boys

You've become (semi) famous and made the Carnival of the NBA:

Carnival of the NBA #40 — The Bill Laimbeer Edition | Detroit Bad Boys

Blog: Orlando Magic Blog
M.O.: Hoping Brian Hill gets fired, or, barring that, hoping Hill's players start listening to him.
Probably would have obsessed over: Penny Hardaway, who knows a thing or two about getting Brian Hill fired.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Another second-half meltdown by Magic in loss to Nets

The Magic played NJ tough for about 2 1/2 quarters before the roof fell in when NJ (20-20, 13-10 home) went on a 45-18 spurt spanning the third and fourth quarters and defeated the Magic (22-19, 8-12 road) 101-94. It was the Magic's 5th loss in a row.

GHill and KDooling sat this one out for the Magic. The Magic were led by HTurkoglu with 24 pts on 9 of 14 shooting; J.J. Redick off the bench with a career-high 13 pts (3 of 4 3 pt FG); TDiener 11 pts; JNelson 11 pts; and CArroyo 10 pts, 5 asts. NJ was led by Vince Carter with 27 pts; Richard Jefferson 17 pts; reserve Eddie House 17 pts (15 pts in the fourth quarter); and Jason Kidd 16 pts, 7 asts. The Magic's DHoward was held to a season-low 1 pt on 0 of 6 shooting and fouled out in just 25 minutes.

NJ (33 of 78, 42.3%) outscored the Magic (32 of 70, 45.7%) from the field 76-73. NJ was 10 of 27 from 3 pt range, while the Magic were 9 of 17. NJ (25 of 32) had the edge at the FT line over the Magic (21 of 32). The Magic did outrebound NJ 44-42. TOs hurt the Magic again with 18, while NJ had only 10. NJ also had a much better AST/TO ratio of 25-10, while the Magic were at 18/18. The Magic bench did well, outscoring the NJ bench 48-37.

This is the mathematical midpoint of the season for the Magic. With a 22-19 record, if they maintain that pace, they will finish 44-38, still good enough for around a 6th seed and a playoff berth. Despite the second-half collapse to NJ, many positives came out of the game... the bench, specifically Redick, Diener, and Arroyo all had solid games. Turkoglu snapped out of his mini-slump and had a solid game. No one could have predicted that DHoward would score just 1 pt, however. Magic have a day of rest then travel to CLE MON night to begin the second half of the season.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Tuning out BSH!

I never thought i would say this but i was very let down last night by the players,and not for their play,but for their lack of following blatant directions.During the 3rd quarter bsh calls a timeout to give some needed direction,The sideline reporter for the magic(forgot his name)says to the audience watching quote:brian hill just told his guys "take the ball all the way to the rim".So i was expecting that whoever shot next would at least do what the coach asked,what we got was shocking to me.Jameer brings the ball down the court and gets into a pick and roll situation with dwight,dwight sets a good screen and jameer has an alley to the basket going toward the baseline,jameer then chooses to shoot a jumper over his defender(arenas)because his defender became a little of balance,jameer misses the jumper when it was clear he couldve had a lay-up attempt,gilbert races back down court and draws a foul on one of our big guys,thats why we lose.Not following the coaches direction at any point in a game hurts the team much more than any basket a player scores,and this aint just about jameer,grant and keyon followed jameer in the jumpshot party,the next two shots were jumpers by you guessed it,grant and keyon,both misses.So lets re-cap,coach says take the ball to the hoop (which is good coaching might i add)we get 3 jumpshots by jameer,grant and keyon.This isnt a quality collection of guys in my opinion,are they good guys? Sure,But being a good guy dont win games.Like intro is saying if your gonna play inside out then you need shooters on the floor,after looking at the mike miller and pau gasol trade for darko and grant,it seems like a good deal for both sides,memphis would get a replacement for gasol,get an expiring contract and servicable player in grant.The magic would get a true 2guard in miller who can shoot the three at 6ft8,plus bsh wouldnt be able to start battie anymore with gasol in the building,dwight and gasol= dominant,plus hedo-mike and jameer together would give you shooters at all three wing positions and quality starters to boot.We can live with jameer's shooting make or miss because he'a shooting point guard,but we cant live with our two shooting guards shooting so poorly from three point range,thats part of the reason why dwight turns it over so much some games,defenses collapsing becuase they dont respect our outside threats,mike miller and hedo would work great together,as much as i love grant he's playing out of position,and so is keyon,neither should be playing the 2,and neither played the 2 for the team they came from which proves my point,grant was an all-star small-forward,and keyon played back-up point guard to damon jones for the heat.To me its time for otis to start giving his coach players that can play in his system,shooters.And that does not mean promote trav or JJ to starting roles,it means aquire starting caliber players that fit the specific need and will follow direction.The problem with this team is we want to play inside out with a whole bunch of ballers who dont follow direction well at the moment,their's nothing wrong with playing inside out if you have the team to do it,look at san antone,with bowen and ginobli being shooters,they can play inside out,with grant and hedo,we try and play inside out but at the same time we have to tell grant to take it to the rim because he doesnt even attempt three's and his jumpshooting doesnt put any pressure on the defense if he misses,hedo's really our shooting guard because he can shoot from anywhere,but he cant guard shooting guards,which is what puts us into a mess,and why grants really on the floor playing the two,not because he's the best shooting guard we can employ,to me its time to find one,and move battie to the bench.
12:52 PM

Magic/Nets preview

After a lackluster loss to WAS FRI night, the Magic (22-18, 8-11 road, 6th East) will try to get their act together at NJ (19-20, 12-10 home, 4th East). NJ has won 8 of their last 10 games, and is coming off a 101-100 last-second win at NY FRI night. G Jason Kidd led with 23 pts and 9 asts.

NJ is led by G/F Vince Carter, who averages 25 ppg on 44.7% shooting and 5.9 rebs; F Richard Jefferson 16.1 ppg; and Kidd 14.3 ppg, 9.3 asts, and 8.3 rebs. Kidd also has an excellent AST/TO ratio of 3.3/1. C Nenad Krstic, averaging 16.4 ppg, is out for the season with a torn ACL suffered last month. NJ averages 97.1 ppg, while allowing 97.4 ppg. The Magic average 93.6 ppg, while allowing 92.5 ppg.

The Magic need to come out and play with some pride tonight after the embarrassing second half against WAS, where the Magic were outscored 69-48. This is the first meting between the two teams this season. Last season, the Nets swept all 3 games. NJ is a 3 1/2 pt favorite (www.pinnaclesports.com).

Friday, January 19, 2007

Wizards break open tight game in second half to rout Magic

With the game tied 45-45 at the half, WAS (23-16, 7-13 road) went on a scoring rampage in the second half, scoring 69 pts, and won easily over the Magic (22-18, 14-7 home) 114-93. The Magic made a major change in the rotation, with TDiener the first pt guard off the bench ahead of CArroyo. It didn't help this game, as Diener went scoreless, shot 0 for 3 (all 3 pters) in 16 minutes, and had 0 assists.

The "Big Three" of WAS was way too much for the Magic to handle. Antawn Jamison scored 31 pts with 16 rebs; Gilbert Arenas 30 pts (10 of 20 FG, 5 of 7 3 pt FG), 6 assists; and Caron Butler 21 pts. For the Magic, GHill bounced back from a poor game to score 24 pts (10 of 14 FG); DHoward 20 pts (8 of 9 FG) 13 rebs; JNelson 15 pts, 7 asts; HTurkoglu 11 pts (3 of 12 FG); and KDooling off the bench with 11 pts.

WAS (42 of 96, 43.8%) outscored the Magic (36 of 77, 46.8%) from the field 93-77. WAS shot 9 of 18 from 3 pt range, while the Magic were 5 of 17. WAS had the advantage at the FT line 21 of 25, compared to 16 of 21 for the Magic. The Wizards did not shoot a FT in the first half. WAS dominated the boards 50-38, including 23-7 on the offensive boards. TOs once again hurt the Magic, as they had 18, compared to just 7 for WAS. WAS had an outstanding AST/TO ratio of 18/7, while the Magic ratio was 21/18. The bench for both teams scored 20 pts.

GHill and DHoward combined to shoot 18 of 23, while the rest of the team combined to shoot just 18 of 54 (33.3%). The Magic are now 1 1/2 games behind WAS in the SE. Magic face an improving NJ Nets team SAT night in NJ.

Wizards/Magic preview

In a battle for first place in the SE FRI night at Amway Arena, The Magic (22-17, 14-6 home, 6th East) take on WAS (22-16, 6-13 road, 2nd East). WAS is coming off a 99-98 home win over NYK WED. F Caron Butler led with 27 pts 10 asts; G Gilbert Arenas was held to 16 pts.

WAS is led by star Arenas, averaging 29.9 ppg on 43.1% shooting, 6.2 asts; Butler 21 ppg, 8.1 rebs; F Antawn Jamison 18.8 ppg, 8.2 rebs; former Magic guard Deshawn Stevenson 9.8 ppg on 49.8% FG shooting (46.3% 3 pt FG), and C Brendan Haywood 6.6 ppg, 6.9 rebs. The Wizards average 107.1 ppg, and allow 106.1 ppg. The Magic average 93.6 ppg, and allow 92 ppg.

Arenas has failed to score 20 pts in a game just 6 times this season, and has bounced back the game after all those games with impressive performances. The Magic better be wary since Arenas scored just 16 pts WED. Magic are a 3 1/2 pt favorite (www.pinnaclesports.com).

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Shorthanded Hornets stun cold-shooting Magic in OT

The Magic (22-17, 8-11 road) were held to a season-low 78 pts by NO/OKC (15-22, 9-10 home), who were missing 4 regular players, including star G Chris Paul. NO prevailed 84-78 in OT, as the Magic did not score in the OT until a meaningless 3 pointer in the final 10 seconds.

NO was lead in scoring by reserve Jannero Pargo, with 25 pts on 10 of 18 shooting; Desmond Mason 21 pts; and Rasual Butler 19 pts. DHoward led the Magic with 17 pts, 15 rebs; HTurkoglu 16 pts; JNelson 12 pts; and DMilicic led the reserves with 11 pts, 10 rebs. Pargo also hurt the Magic last season in a game as a member of the Bulls.

NO (30 of 80, 37.5%) outscored the Magic (29 of 83, 34.9%) from the field 64-63. The Magic hit on 5 of 15 3 pt FGs, while NO was 4 of 17. NO (20-23) also had the advantage from the FT line over the Magic (15 of 23). The Magic had the slight edge in rebounding 49-48. Both teams had 16 TOs, while the Magic had an AST/TO ratio of 15/16, and NO 11/16. The Hornets reserves, led by Pargo's 25 pts, outscored the Magic reserves 29-20.

The Magic finish the road trip a disappointing 1-3, losing the final 3 games. After playing LAL and PHX tough, the Magic were very flat against NO. Magic miss TAriza and his energy off the bench. Redick and Diener continue to sit. Things only get tougher for the Magic, starting FRI night in ORL against WAS. The Wizards are now percentage pts ahead of the Magic in the SE.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Magic/Hornets preview

The Magic (22-16, 8-10 road, 3rd East) play their last game of a 4 game road trip in OKCity against the injury-ravaged Hornets (14-22, 8-10 home, 12th West), who are missing 4 regular players. The Hornets have won 2 in a row and are coming off a 104-97 home win over WAS on FRI. Desmond Mason led NO with 22 pts. NO's scheduled game on SAT at MIL was postponed because of the icy weather in OKCity not allowing NO to fly out.

NO/OKC is missing G Chris Paul (18.4 ppg), F Peja Stojakovic (17.8 ppg), F David West (17.4 ppg), and G Bobby Jackson (10.6 ppg), all out due to injury. Among their active players, G/F Desmond Mason is the leading scorer at 13.4 ppg; G Devin Brown 11.5 ppg; G/F Rasual Butler 11.3 ppg; and G Jannero Pargo 10.9 ppg. C Tyson Chandler averages 11.3 rebs and 1.6 blocks per game. NO averages a league-low 90.2 ppg, while allowing 94.7 ppg. The Magic average 94 ppg, while allowing 92.2 ppg.

The Magic have won 4 of their last 5 games against the Hornets, and beat them 86-83 last month. NO is 13-5 when scoring at least 92 pts. The Magic have lost 6 of their last 7 road games. Magic are favored by 6 1/2 pts (www.pinnaclesports.com).

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Magic give Suns battle in loss

The Magic (22-16, 8-10 road), after falling behind by as many as 18 pts in the third quarter, made a game of it in the fourth quarter and got as close as 3 points with a couple minutes left, but could get no closer as PHO (28-8, 17-3 home) held off the Magic 107-101. The worse news is that TAriza, who has been such a key off the bench, will miss 6-8 weeks with a sprained MCL he suffered against GS.

The Magic were led by JNelson with 26 pts on 9 of 15 shooting; HTurkoglu 18 pts; KDooling led the reserves with 13 pts; DMilicic and KBogans each added 10 pts off the bench; and DHoward finished with 10 pts, 5 rebs. Steve Nash led PHO with 23 pts 8 asts; Boris Diaw 19 pts 11 asts; Shawn Marion with 16 pts; Raja Bell 15 pts; and Amare Stoudemire with 12 pts 10 rebs.

PHO (43 of 81, 53.1%) outscored the Magic (38 of 82, 46.3%) from the field 95-85. The Magic matched PHO in 3 pters, making 9 of 17, while PHO made 9 of 25. The Magic (16 of 20) had the edge at the FT line over PHO (12 of 16). PHO outrebounded the Magic 43-38. The Magic turned the ball over just 11 times, compared to 16 for PHO. PHO had an AST/TO ratio of 26/16, while the Magic were at 15/11. The Magic reserves outscored the PHO reserves 37-22.

The Magic played both LAL and PHO tough, but fell just short on both games. They will need their defense to step up a notch in the next several weeks, without the services of their best defender Ariza. The last game of this 4 game trip is at NO/OKC on TUE.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Magic/Suns preview

The Magic (22-15, 8-9 road, 2nd East), a night after a close loss to LAL, face a formidable challenge SAT night against the NBA's hottest team, PHO (27-8, 16-3 home, 2nd West). The Suns have won 8 in a row, 26 of their last 29, and 15 of their last 16 at home. PHO is coming off a 109-90 romp over CLE, with Steve Nash leading the way with 21 asts.

Nash is having another MVP-type year, averaging 19.6 ppg, 11.3 asts; F Shawn Marion 19.4 ppg, 9.5 rebs; F/C Amare Stoudemire 17.6 ppg, 9.1 rebs; G Leandro Barbosa 16.5 ppg; G Raja Bell 14.8 ppg; and F Boris Diaw 9.9 ppg. PHO averages a league-leading 110.8 ppg on 49.4% shooting while allowing 102.4 ppg. ORL averages 93.8 ppg, while allowing 91.8 ppg, good for third best in the league.

PHO beat the Magic 103-89 last month in ORL, a game where Nash had 18 pts, 15 asts; and DHoward scored just 4 pts with 3 rebs. The Suns are whopping 10 1/2 pt favorites over the Magic (www.pinnaclesports.com).

Missed FTs hurt Magic in narrow loss to Lakers

The Magic (22-15, 8-9 road), trying to win in LA for the first time since 1996, gave the LAL all they could handle, but the Lakers (24-13, 17-4 home), led by Kobe Bryant's 16 4th quarter pts, prevailed over the Magic 109-106.

The Magic were led by DHoward, who had a double-double of 25 pts and 10 rebs. However, he was just 7 of 16 from the FT line and had 5 TOs. GHill added 20 pts on 8 of 11 FGs; HTurkoglu 18 pts, and CArroyo off the bench with 11 pts. Bryant led LA with 28 pts on 9 of 15 FGs, 10 of 11 FTs; Smush Parker hurt the Magic again, with a career-high 26 pts; and Luke Walton 12 pts.

LA (38 of 77, 49.4%) outscored the Magic (38 of 75, 50.4%) from the floor 83-81. LA hit on 7 of 18 3 pters, while the Magic were 5 of 12. LA (26 of 35) had the edge at the FT line over the Magic (25 of 39, 64.1%). LA had a slight edge on the boards over ORL 41-38. The Magic had a very good AST/TO ratio of 27/12, but LA was even better at 26/9. The Magic reserves edged the Lakers reserves 27-26.

The Magic still had a chance to tie at the end, but JNelson's (3 of 10 FG, 7 pts) last second 3 pt attempt clanked off the rim. Magic proved they can play on the road against a strong team, but 14 missed FTs spoiled an otherwise strong effort. The Magic really have their work cut out for them SAT night, facing the high-flying Suns.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Magic/Lakers preview

The Magic (22-14, 8-8 road, 2nd East), on a 5 game winning streak, will face the LA Lakers (23-13, 16-4 home, 5th East), losers of 2 in a row. LA is coming off a 102-77 defeat at HOU WED night. Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 20 pts, but suffered a mild groin strain, but should be ready to play tonight.

F Lamar Odom (17.5 ppg) and F/C Kwame Brown (8.7 ppg) are both injured and will not play. LA is led by Bryant, who averages 28 ppg, 5.4 asts; F Luke Walton 12.3 ppg on 50.5% FG shooting; G Smush Parker 11 ppg; C Andrew Bynum 7.9 ppg, 5,8 rebs; and F Brian Cook 6.9 ppg. LA averages 104.6 ppg while allowing 102.2 ppg; the Magic average 93.5 ppg and allow 91.3 ppg.

The Lakers have won 9 straight home games against the Magic and 14 of the last 16 meetings overall, including a 106-93 victory last month in ORL. The Magic are just 1/2 game behind CLE for the best record in the East. LA is a 4 pt favorite over the Magic (www.pinnaclesports.com).

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Monster game by Howard leads to Magic win over GS

The Magic (22-14, 8-8 road) started off their 4 game road trip on a positive note, defeating GS (18-19, 14-6 home) 91-76, led by a career-high 30 pts from DHoward, in addition to 25 rebs. The Magic held GS to 41 fewer pts than they scored in a 117-108 loss to the Warriors in DEC.

In addition to Howard's career game, KBogans scored 16 pts off the bench, and KDooling, back from injury, added 13 pts. Bogans and Dooling combined to shoot 6 of 9 from 3 pt range. HTurkoglu was not active for this game; TAriza started in his place and scored 5 pts, but had to leave the game just before the half with a sprained MCL. GS was led by Monta Ellis with 14 pts, and Baron Davis was held to just 13 pts after scoring 38 pts against the Magic last month.

The Magic (34 of 84, 40.5%) outscored GS (28 of 76, 36.8%) from the floor 74-61. The Magic hit on 6 of 14 3 pt FG, while GS was 5 of 17 from long range. FT shooting was a struggle for both teams, with the Magic going 17 of 33, and GS 15 of 27. The Magic won the rebound battle 52-45. The Magic had a slightly better AST/TO ratio of 20/14, while the GS ratio was 20/18. The Magic bench outscored the GS bench 33-27.

Aside from the FT shooting and injury to Ariza, good start on this tough 11 game stretch. Bogans and Dooling were impressive off the bench. Of course, not enough superlatives can be said for Dwight. Magic head to LA to play the Lakers FRI night.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Magic/Warriors preview

The Magic (21-14, 7-8 road, 2nd East), on a 4 game winning streak, start a 4 game road trip at GS (18-18, 14-5 home, 9th West). GS is seeking their 7th consecutive home win, and they are coming off a 128-105 loss to PHO on Sunday. G Monta Ellis led GS with 22 pts.

G Baron Davis leads the Warriors with 21.2 ppg and 8.4 asts; Ellis averages 17.4 ppg; G/F Mickael Pietrus 14.3 ppg; G/F Jason Richardson (12.7 ppg) has a broken right hand and will be out until late Feb; F Mike Dunleavy 11.7 ppg; F Matt Barnes 11.2 ppg; and F/C Andris Biedrins 10.7 ppg, 9.5 rebs. GS averages 106.4 ppg while allowing 107.1 ppg. The Magic average 93.5 ppg, while allowing 91.7 ppg.

GS beat the Magic last month in ORL 117-108, as Baron Davis scored 38 pts. The Magic have lost 4 games in a row on the road, last winning at SAC on DEC 4th. Magic have given up just 76.8 ppg during their 4 game winning streak. GS is a 2 1/2 pt favorite over the Magic (www.pinnaclesports.com).

Monday, January 08, 2007

The Rest of January ...

The rest of January 2007 is one of the toughest stretches for the Magic this season. They are playing 11 games, out of which 7 are on the road. Thanks heavens for two games against Atlanta. Out of the 11 games 5 are against winning teams, one against a .500 team and one against a team just one game below .500. Overall, one may say 7 out of eleven are tough games. Here is the breakdown:

@GS: 14-5 at home; projection: L
@LAL: 16-4 at home; projection: L
@PHO: 14-3 at home; projection: L
@NO: 7-9 at home; projection: W
WAS: 6-11 on the road; projection: W
@NJ: 10-10 at home; projection: W
@CLE: 15-3 at home; projection: L
DAL: 11-5 on the road; projection: L
ATL: 5-12 on the road; projection: W
@ATL 5-9 at home; projection: W
MIL: 7-12 on the road; projection: W

Magic would have done well if they go 6-5 on this stretch. If the Magic could steal the first west coast game at GS, the outlook for that trip could change, although it is hard to see them winning in either LA or Phoenix. The game at NJ could go to the loss column, as well since it is on a back-to-back after playing WAS at home, and NJ is a .500 team at home. Although it is not impossible, it would be hard to imagine a victory against DAL at home, since that would be Magic’s fourth game in five nights on a second set of back-to-backs, and no back-to-back for DAL.

Magic move back in first with win over BOS

Despite scoring just 33 second half pts, the Magic (21-14, 14-6 home) relied on their tough defense to outlast BOS (12-21, 8-10 away) 87-79, in a foul-filled game. Both teams combined for 57 fouls and 79 FT attempts. Thanks to TOR's victory over WAS earlier on SUN, the Magic are now a game ahead of WAS.

The Magic were led by GHill, in his first game action in over a week, with 21 pts (13 of 14 FTs) and 8 rebs; DHoward with 18 pts, 12 rebs; TBattie 11 pts, 10 rebs; DMilicic led the bench with 12 pts 4 rebs. HTurkoglu added 9 pts. Tony Allen led BOS with 21 pts, 9 rebs; Wally Szczerbiak added 13 pts.

The stats for both teams were not pretty. The Magic (27 of 72, 37.5%) outscored BOS (23 of 73, 31.5%) from the field 55-50. ORL was just 1 of 5 from 3 pt range, while BOS was 4 of 18. The Magic (32 of 45, 71.1%) had the edge at the FT line (29 of 34, 85.3%). The Magic crushed BOS on the boards 51-31. The Magic were plagued by TOs with 21, and had a poor AST/TO ratio of 15/21, while the Celtics were even worse at 9/17. The Magic bench outscored the BOS bench 22-18.

Very important win for the Magic, as they have now won 4 in a row before heading out West for 4 games; overall, 6 of their next 7 will be on the road. The first game will be WED night at GS.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Celtics/Magic preview

The Magic (20-14, 13-6 home, 5th East) will be trying for a their 4th win in a row on this last game of the homestand against BOS (12-20, 8-9 away, 12th East), coached by former Magic coach Doc Rivers. BOS is coming off a 128-119 win over MEM on FRI on 57.5% shooting. Seven players scored in double figures, led by Wally Szczerbiak with 26 pts (4 of 7 3 pt FG).

BOS will be without leading scorer Paul Pierce (26.6 ppg) due to a sore foot, and is not expected back for another week or two. G/F Szczerbiak averages 17 ppg; F/C Al Jefferson 13.6 ppg, 9.8 rebs; F Ryan Gomes 11 ppg; G Tony Allen 10.9 ppg; G Delonte West 9 ppg; and PG Sebastian Telfair 8.3 ppg. BOS averages 99.8 ppg while allowing 101.0 ppg; the Magic average 93.7 ppg, while allowing 92.1 ppg. The first 3 games of this homestand, Magic opponents are averaging just 76 ppg on 37.4% FG shooting.

After tonight's game, 6 of the Magic's next 7 games are on the road. GHill may be ready to return from his injury. The Magic's tough defense they've shown this homestand will be tested by the Celtics. The Magic are favored by 8 pts (www.pinnaclesports.com).

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Magic blow out cold-shooting Bobcats

After a relatively close first half, where the Magic (20-14, 13-6 home) led by just 56-50 at halftime over CHA, they allowed CHA (9-23, 3-12 away) just 24 second half pts en route to their biggest blow-out victory of the year, 106-74.

Eleven of twelve players scored for the Magic. DHoward led with 22 pts, 12 rebs. Howard also made his first career 3 pt basket at the end of the second quarter. JNelson added 20 pts (8 of 15 shooting); HTurkoglu 14 pts 5 asts; and TAriza 10 pts, 9 rebs, and 5 asts. J.J. Redick, TDiener, and PGarrity combined for 18 pts on 7 of 10 shooting. CHA was led by reserve Matt Carroll with 19 pts, and Raymond Felton added 11 pts 7 asts.

The Magic (39 of 68, 57.4%) outscored CHA (25 of 86, 29.1%) 87-58. The Magic shot well from 3 pt range, 9 of 15, while CHA was 8 of 24. ORL (19 of 30) had the advantage at the FT line over CHA (16 of 23). The Magic had a 45-36 edge on the boards. The Magic distributed the ball well with 22 asts, but had 20 TOs. CHA's AST/TO ratio was 15-11. The Magic bench outscored the CHA bench 39-31.

GHill and KDooling continued to sit, resting their injuries, while DMilicic strained his foot in the first half and only played 4 minutes. The Magic showed their strong depth this game, and won their third game in a row for the first time in over a month. Magic have a day of rest before former coach Doc Rivers and the Celtics come to town SUN evening.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Bobcats/Magic preview

The Magic (19-14, 12-6 home, 6th East) will try for their third win in a row against CHA (9-22, 3-11 road, 14th East) FRI night. CHA is coming off a 102-96 loss at MIN MON night. Matt Carroll led the Bobcats with 23 pts. CHA has 2 key players out with injuries; F Gerald Wallace (13.3 ppg) and G Brevin Knight (11.9 ppg). GHill and KDooling are day-to-day with their injuries for the Magic.

CHA is led by C Emeka Okafor with 15 ppg, 11.4 rebs, 2.8 blocks. G Raymond Felton 13.9 ppg, 7.5 asts; rookie G/F Adam Morrison 13.8 ppg (37.2% FG); PF Sean May, who scored a career-high 32 pts against the Magic in DEC, 12.2 ppg, 6.6 rebs; SG Matt Carroll 9.4 ppg; and C Primoz Brezec 5.9 ppg. CHA averages 94.5 ppg while allowing 100.9 ppg. The Magic average 93.4 ppg while allowing 92.7 ppg.

The two teams have split this season, with each winning at home. CHA beat the Magic 99-89 in their last meeting in CHA. The Magic have won 3 straight at home over CHA. Due to the uncertainty of Hill and Dooling playing, no line out for the game yet.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Magic Turn up D in second half in win over Clippers

The Magic (19-14, 12-6 home), after trailing by 7 pts at the half, really came alive in the second half, held LAC to 38 pts, and got contributions from several players to beat LAC (14-17, 2-11 road) 91-86.

JNelson had his best game of the year with 29 pts (11 of 16 shooting), 4 asts, and just 1 TO. DHoward added 14 pts, 14 rebs, 5 asts; TAriza off the bench with 14 pts, 5 rebs, and HTurkoglu 13 pts. DMilicic had 8 pts 4 rebs; and BOutlaw 4 pts 5 rebs. The Magic were without the services again of GHill and KDooling, resting their injuries. Former Magic Corey Maggette led LAC with 20 pts off the bench. Elton Brand 15 pts 7 rebs, Tim Thomas 13 pts, and Chris Kaman and Cuttino Mobley 12 apiece. Sam Cassell sat out the game with a sore heel.

The Magic (35 of 74, 47.3%) outscored LAC (35 of 69, 50.7%) from the floor 73-71. The Magic shot 3 of 10 from 3 pt range, while LAC shot 1 of 7 from long range. The Magic (18 of 24) were better from the FT line (LAC 15 of 22). The Magic outrebounded LAC 38-28, while the AST/TO ratios were fairly even (ORL 19-18, LAC 17-18). The Magic bench outscored the Clippers Bench 28-24.

The Magic had some trouble closing out LAC in the final 30 seconds, but held off the Clippers attempt to tie the game and finally iced the game with 2 Nelson FTs. Two days of rest for the Magic, and then CHA comes to ORL FRI night.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Clippers/Magic preview

The Magic (18-14, 11-6 home, 6th East) start off the New Year hosting the LA Clippers (14-16, 2-10 road, 10th West). LAC have won 3 in a row and are coming off a 90-80 win over NY SUN. F Elton Brand led LAC with 32 pts and 8 blocks. The Magic have lost 9 of their last 13 games but are coming off their most dominant victory of the season over MIA.

The Clippers are led by Brand, averaging 19.7 ppg, 9 rebs. Former Magic G/F Corey Maggette is at 15 ppg; G Sam Cassell 13.4 ppg, but has been bothered by foot problems the last week and hasn't played. Former Magic G Cuttino Mobley 12.8 ppg (44.1% 3 pt FG); C Chris Kaman 10.1 ppg, 7.8 rebs; F Tim Thomas 9.7 ppg, and G Shaun Livingston 9.6 ppg, 5.3 asts. LAC averages 95.5 ppg while allowing 97.5 ppg. The Magic average 93.4 ppg while allowing 92.9 ppg.

LAC gave the Magic their worst loss of the year 116-91 in LA DEC 3rd. With the start of the New Year, the original basketball will replace the new basketball. The Magic are 4 1/2 pt favorites (www.pinnaclesports.com).